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Stressed and Overwhelmed at Medical School? Here are Five Tips that will Help

By J. T. Madicus

Being a medical student is one of the toughest gigs there is. You need to absorb a formidable amount of information under pressure, compete with your fellow students, and meet the ever-changing demands of your professors. All of this while staying sane!

I survived medical school and today, I run a complex business that includes medical education, film production, and business consultancy. On top of this, I write a book or two a year, author my own film-scripts, deliver lectures around the world, and am a father to two young children! How do I do all of this without going insane? Here are five tips that can help:

Remember the “Why”

Whenever the day to day stresses of my business life get me down, I take a step back and remind myself why I am doing this. I am on a mission to transform medical education and end the global doctor shortage. This vision is powerful enough to keep me going no matter what! Remember the reason why you decided to become a doctor in the first place.

Build a Support Group Around You

I do not believe that I could do what I do were it not for the support of my friends, family and colleagues. I surround myself with people who believe in me and empower me. If you are not getting this kind of support from your circle, deliberately go and seek it out. Giving this support to others is a great way to get it in return.

Have a Hobby

One of my passions is collecting antique bayonets from around the world. I have a room literally full of them! It gives me pleasure and is a useful way to take my mind off the demands of work. Chances are, you had a lot of hobbies in high-school – maybe you played sports or a musical instrument – but you may have dropped some or all of them since starting medical school. Consider picking one or two back up! This is also a great way to meet others and expand your support group and network.

Celebrate Your Success

That moment when you have accomplished your goals and are a successful surgeon may seem like a lifetime away, but don’t forget to celebrate the milestones you have already achieved. I remember when I held the printed copy of my first book in my hands. This was just a small part of my business, but it was there, printed and real. Whenever you pass an exam, learn something new, or master a new skill, celebrate it and enjoy it!

Have Fun!

It’s so easy to forget this fundamental aspect and get so lost in your work that you forget to actually live! One of the things that people say about me is that I am fun to work with. This is because I love my job and make it a deliberate priority to insert the joy into everything that I do. Make it a mission – put on your to-do list even! Find the joy in what you are doing. It is there – sometimes you just have to look for it.

I hope these five tips help you get through the day with a bit more of a smile on your face. Everything you do is worth it, and it’s important to surround yourself with the right people, enjoy the journey, and remember why you’re doing it!

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